Over the last five decades, Tom Jones was best known as an international hitmaker. Influenced as a child by American blues, R&B, and rock ‘n’ roll, the singing legend has produced hits in both the United States and the United Kingdom. His popular singles include “It’s Not Unusual,” “Green Green Grass of Home,” “Delilah,” “Till,” and “A Boy From Nowhere.” He continues to put forth fruitful albums from the ’80s into the new millennium, with hits particularly supplied to the British and European markets.
As a child, Thomas John Woodward, his birth name, struggled with dyslexia. He loved to sing at assemblies and in the school choir. Jones also enjoyed listening to BBC radio, which played American blues, R&B, and rock genres which later influenced his musical style. At Age 12, he was diagnosed with tuberculosis and was isolated at home for a long period. As a teenager, Jones was more involved in drinking and girls rather than his schooling. Eventually, he quit school at age sixteen. Jones then married his childhood love, Melinda “Linda” Trenchard in 1957. They had a son and remained together for nearly sixty years until Trenchard died from cancer in 2016. He has to earn money so he worked as a builder’s hand and a door-to-door vacuum salesperson.
Hits, Shows, and Career
Jones began his career singing with the band Tommy Scott with the Senators, in 1963. He did not grow as a singer at that time. The next year, London-based Gordon Mills discovered Jones, brought him to London and became his manager. This was when he changed his name to Tom Jones, inspired by the 1963 Albert Finney film. His second single, “It’s Not Unusual,” with Decca Records, peaked at top 1 in the British charts in 1965 and was an American top 10 hit.
With these successes came a United States appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Moreover, in the 1960s, he had a long line of hit singles. In 1966, He sang the track to 1966 Warren Beatty comedy “Promise Her Anything”, where he won a Grammy for Best New Artist. From 1969 to 1971, Jones starred in his own TV show, This Is Tom Jones, which was based in America, aired in both the United States and Great Britain. During the 1970s, he spent most of his time setting up shop in Las Vegas, hanging out with Elvis Presley, touring and throwing a record label. His modest success in America with the top 20 single “Say You’ll Stay Until Tomorrow,” marked the end of his presence on the stateside charts.
However, his career continued in the United Kingdom, getting more awards and making hits “Mama Told Me Not to Come Home” and “Sex Bomb”. Queen Elizabeth II gave Jones the honor of Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1999 and knighted him in 2006 for his musical achievements. Drawing on his far-reaching musical experience, Jones became a judge on the United Kingdom reality show, The Voice in 2012.
Have a glimpse of the playful Tom Jones as he sang “Great Balls of Fire”. Such an entertainer!
Happy Birthday, Tom Jones. We hope you continue to bring more music to the world.